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History of Maurice Abravanel, Utah
Taken from the Utah History Encyclopedia. (Links Added)
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Under Abravanel's nurturing the Utah Symphony grew from a part-time community ensemble to a symphony orchestra of worldwide renown. He molded the local character of the orchestra by importing very few artists from outside of Utah. He fiercely defended his musicians, helping them achieve full-time professional status. For years he lobbied for a permanent home for the orchestra, equal to its reputation. Ironically, while he was most influential in the building of Utah's acclaimed Symphony Hall, renamed Abravanel Hall in his honor in 1993, he never raised his baton there, retiring the season before its completion.

Abravanel was dedicated to bringing great music to as many people as possible. He led the orchestra on four successful international tours as well as on tours throughout the West and to cities throughout America. He brought the Symphony to prominence through recording contracts with Vanguard, Vox, Angel, and CBS. He is the only conductor to have recorded all the Mahler symphonies with the same orchestra. Many of the more than one hundred Abravanel/Utah Symphony recordings are considered classics. In addition to his dedication to Utah, Abravanel directed the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, from 1956 to 1979. Starting in 1981 he has taught conducting at Tanglewood where he has been appointed artist-in-residence for life. From 1970 to 1976 Abravanel served on the National Council of the Arts. The Maestro also served as the vice-chairman of the American Symphony Orchestra League, receiving its most prestigious Golden Baton Award in 1981.


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